Long live the House of St Barnabas by Ola Faluyi

Last Friday, with only two weeks left of programme I started thinking about how fast the last 10 weeks had gone and how the time has come for me to say goodbye to House of St Barnabas’ Employment Preparation Programme.

From the start of the programme, we were taken through all sorts of training exercises. I found them amusing, but they didn’t seem to hold any relevance for me and felt as if I was just going through the motions. Well, I was wrong! One of the exercises taught by Jennie, the Mentor Project Coordinator, showed us the art of passing an imaginary balloon to each other, to help with stretching. Now it seems, I need to perform this exercise as part of a regime of stretches the physiotherapist has prescribed to me to ease a ligament pain. If you are wondering why I am sharing this, it is as a reminder that all knowledge is knowledge gained. In my 10 weeks at the House, I have learned that no matter your background, past exploits, or experience: there is always room to learn. Each training session we had, built on the last and were led by seasoned professionals in their field. At the tail end of the Employment Preparation Programme, I feel primed and ready to move on as graduate and friend of the House.

My initial impression of Soho was formed by hearsay that deemed it a sleazy place, full of questionable characters. I now know that the real Soho is a place full of talents, a vibrant history, and its own culture which is bound up in love and talent. I’ve seen artworks I hadn’t before dotted around the area and Soho Square serves as a convergent, space where people come to relax and recharge their minds.

Taking it back to the House. Who would have known that it was here the first drainage works for a city were conceived, or that the legendary Charles Dickens wrote a novel set in the very building we walked through every day! I love this building, the magnificent ceilings and Chapel within its premises. And I’ve never seen any other building have a penny chute, I think it would be a brilliant idea to export back to Churches in Africa who still thrive on tithe donations.

I find myself reminiscing on the numerous professionals who came in and gave lectures on matters including finance, CV writing, creative writing, yoga, team working, and communication skills. All this training was designed to get us ready for the world of work, and I thank the House for giving me the opportunity to learn in their friendly environment.

I offer my sincerest thanks and gratitude to all members of staff at the House, right through to our able CEO, Rosie Ferguson. I had the honour of being the CEO Assistant here and am grateful to Rosie for giving me the opportunity to attend her meetings with other CEO’s where I learned a great deal on how organisations interact with and influence each other.

I thank you for all the costs that were covered for us, from eating, being clothed and even having free travel cards to attend this wonderful course.

I will now have to regretfully retire to the gym to work off all the Tavuuk Kebab, but if you see me lurking around Soho soon, know I’m back to say hello, and maybe grab another Kebab!

God bless you all!

Ola Faluyi